1923 ROLLS-ROYCE 20HP FOUR SEATER ALL-WEATHER CABRIOLET
COACHWORK BY BARKER
Registration No. Not UK registered.
Chassis No. GA71
Engine No. G645R
Burgundy with black wings, beige interior and trim.
Engine: six cylinders in-line, overhead valves 3,127cc, 53bhp at 3,000rpm; Gearbox: three-speed manual; Suspension: semi-elliptic leaf-springs front and rear with friction-type shock absorbers; Brakes: rear-wheel mechanical drum. Right-hand drive.
The 20hp Rolls Royce was first introduced to the public in 1922 to complement the long-running Ghost models, in response for perceived demand after the Great War for lighter, more compact and faster means of transport, and to facilitate manoeuvreability in towns and cities, especially London, where the costs of maintaining a Motor Carriage had risen considerably. The new 20hp model was well-received and became one of the most successful British vehicles of the period for the luxury market, with a production run supplying nearly 3,000 examples between 1922 and 1929. Although the chassis was very much standardised within the usual Company remit, subject to special orders, nevertheless, as with the Ghosts it provided an ideal platform for the bespoke coachbuilders to create a varied selection of styles to suit almost every occasion and demand. The design of the chassis with its centrally placed gear-lever, allowed for the first time the facility for the designers to utilise full four door bodywork on a Rolls-Royce.
This unusual and very attractive design by Barker, combines features of both formal Town Car and Open-road Tourer incorporating mechanisms to convert the four-door body-work with wind-up windows and chauffeur's division into a rakish sporting five-seater touring machine. The windows and hood can be wound down and folded out of sight, as with the central division which disappears completely from view. The car is attractively finished in a rich dark burgundy paintwork, offset by black wings, wheels and hood. The interior has been restored at some previous period but is pleasantly furbished with beige leather seats and matching interior with cloth-lined hood. The external wood-framing of the coachwork and upper-panels of the doors is stripped to natural finish, varnished and polished, whilst being off-set by polished brass-work mouldings: interior fittings are nickel-silver. The lighting is by CAV pattern electric headlamps and sporting-style torpedo sidelights. It is fitted with detachable wire-spoke wheels and is offered in running condition, following some few years temperately stored in private Swiss ownership. Previously UK-registered, it should be possible to have the original number re-allocated.